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Appealing Your Workers’ Compensation Decision

Published on Mar 23, 2016 at 9:21 am in Workers' Compensation.

If you are unsatisfied with your workers’ compensation settlement, there are appeal options available to you. Even if you were granted benefits but disagree with parts of the decision involving your benefits, you are protected and have the right to file an appeal with the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission. It is not required that you obtain legal representation, but retaining an attorney during a workers’ compensation appeal can give you a greater chance at winning your appeal and being granted a higher settlement.  

Safeguarding Workers’ Compensation Coverage

Published on Aug 21, 2015 at 12:34 pm in Workers' Compensation.

Thousands of South Carolina workers put themselves at risk of injury every day while on the job. Some employees work inherently dangerous jobs that involve hazardous materials, dangerous machinery, or other risky working environments while others work seemingly safe jobs but get injured by simply slipping and falling. Whatever the injury that occurs, it is important for workers to know their rights and options when hurt on the job.

Under South Carolina labor laws, most employers are required to obtain workers’ compensation insurance in order to cover or partially cover lost wages and medical expenses resulting from job-related injuries or illnesses. However, there are several ways to risk denial of workers’ compensation coverage.

Privatized Workers’ Compensation? Possible Changes and What it Means for You

Published on May 14, 2015 at 11:08 am in Uncategorized, Workers' Compensation.

A recent legislative push for privatized workers’ compensation insurance is sweeping the nation, including South Carolina. The Association for Responsible Alternatives to Workers’ Compensation (ARAWC) is pushing to allow companies to have their own insurance in lieu of state-run insurance coverage. Though the current schemes in most states allow for companies to choose their workers’ compensation insurance from either state agencies or pre-approved private entities, the ARAWC is pushing to allow companies more freedom in deciding which coverage and what companies to seek this coverage from.

PTSD Workers’ Compensation Up for Discussion in SC

Published on May 6, 2015 at 3:45 pm in Workers' Compensation.

Back in September 2014, we explored the possibility of workers’ compensation benefits extending to employees that suffered emotional trauma on the job. Now, a new discussion about its specific applicability in first responder circumstances has emerged. According to Bluffton Today, a first responder claiming workers’ compensation benefits in South Carolina would need to have been directly involved in a traumatic event during the scope of their employment to qualify for benefits.

Workers’ Compensation Claims: Not Just For Manual Labor

Published on Feb 24, 2015 at 9:00 am in Workers' Compensation.

Many people, incorrectly, attribute workers’ compensation claims only to those in dangerous, labor-intensive, manual labor-type occupations. However, the vast majority of employers are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance, regardless of the relative level of danger involved in that particular job description. In fact, according to the “rule of thumb” the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission provides, “any employer who regularly employs four or more workers full-time or part-time is required to have workers’ compensation insurance.”

Office Jobs Have Hidden Dangers

Any job has the possibility of dangerous conditions, whether it be spilled liquids, things that can be tripped over, or things that can fall down. Construction employee injuries are often more “cut-and-dry” so to speak, in that it is often clear when someone is working in their official capacity and when they are not. With office jobs, there may be a question of whether something was a “hazard or special condition peculiar to [the employee’s] employment,” as was the concern of a recent South Carolina office worker’s claim.

This recent local case demonstrates the complexities of workers’ compensation law. The woman claiming benefits tripped over a rug at her place of employment, and alleged that she was entitled to benefits for pain in her neck, shoulder, and side that she attributed to the fall. The South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission initially denied the injured worker benefits, dismissing her argument that since she was at work when the incident occurred she should necessarily be entitled to such benefits.

The Commission initially denied her claim, and the South Carolina Court of Appeals agreed with the Commission. However, on final appeal to the South Carolina Supreme Court, the Court ultimately determined that the woman was, indeed, entitled to benefits. The general standard for workers’ compensation claims is that a person is entitled to claims if they were injured during the scope of their employment, that is, they were doing something under the direction of their supervisor or within their typical daily duties at the time they were injured. The South Carolina Supreme Court noted that the lower court and Commission decisions failed to focus on this standard, but rather erroneously questioned whether tripping on the rug was something “peculiar” to that line of work, which, of course, it is not.  Applying the general standard, the Court came upon the rightful conclusion that since she was injured at work, during the scope of her employment, she should be entitled to benefits.

South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Attorneys

Of course, receiving workers’ compensation benefits is not quite that simple. There are strict reporting laws that have non-negotiable timelines that must be followed to receive compensation under South Carolina law. Having an experienced workers’ compensation attorney on your side that is familiar with the ins and outs of the application process can greatly improve your chances of having your application accepted and your benefits dispersed quickly. If you or anyone you know has been injured in a work-related accident, regardless of your line of work, contact the Solomon Law Group’s convenient Columbia, South Carolina office to learn more about your legal rights as an employee.

 

Mental Injuries and Workers’ Compensation in South Carolina

Published on Sep 15, 2014 at 10:52 am in Workers' Compensation.

In 2012, there were 4, 628 workers were killed on the job, according to statistics from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, and there were obviously several thousand more who suffered workplace injuries.  In fact in 2012, there were 62, 213 accidents filed with the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission, with over 60,000 of those being new cases.

Types of Workplace Injuries

Usually, when we think of someone getting hurt on the job, we think of a physical injury to the body. Someone may fall off of the back of a truck or develop repetitive motion injuries or get hit by falling objects, or be injured due to any number of incidents. Additionally, workplace violence is one of the leading causes of workplace injuries in America.  Almost 2 million workers report incidents of workplace violence each year. Unfortunately, many more cases go unreported.

It is a sad reality that many workplace accidents and violent encounters occur that result in physical injuries.  But what if someone is injured mentally from an extraordinary circumstance at work? Is a mental injury covered under workers’ compensation in South Carolina?

Are Mental Injuries Covered?

The South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Act, found in Section 42-1-160(b) of the South Carolina Code of Laws, Title 42 addresses this by stating that “stress, mental injuries, and mental illness arising out of and in the course of employment are not considered a personal injury unless the employee establishes by a preponderance of the evidence.”  Thus, while it is not impossible to cover mental injuries under a workers’ compensation claim, it may not be as cut and dry as say a broken arm, pulled disc, or neck strain.

Therefore, if mental injury is caused by stress from standard conditions of employment, the injury will not be covered. Some standard events that are not considered extraordinary causes of stress include, but are not limited to: demotions, furloughs, work evaluations, performance improvement plans, pay cuts, wage freezes, transfers, promotions, salary reviews, or terminations.

Ultimately, mental injuries are covered only if they are either directly “induced by physical injury…or by unusual or extraordinary conditions of employment.” This test is similar to the analysis applied to a workplace heart attack or stroke. In accordance with these guidelines, the stress and anxiety related to working in a high pressure environment is not covered, unless it is the result of the occurrence of something out of the ordinary.

Contact a South Carolina Attorney

In the unfortunate event that you, or someone you love, suffer a workplace injury, be it mental or physical, it is incredibly important that you speak with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney so that you can get the right advice in a timely manner.

Our firm has assisted countless workers fight for their rights in receiving the just compensation they are owed under the law.  We have experience, passion, and knowledge, and we are ready to serve your needs. Contact the legal team at the Solomon Law Group today in order to discuss your available legal options. Please call us toll free at 877-323-3120.

 

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